Introduction: Butterfly Swarm Coconut Cupcakes

About: I'm Laura, I am married to the lovely Mr T, who tries to look interested when I blather on about yet another macaron or clothing idea. We have two gorgeous boys called Casper and Rowan and all live in the New …

I made these cupcakes for my nan's 90th birthday party at the weekend. My mum made the butterflies so my job was pretty easy really. These cupcakes look completely different from the ones I had originally planned. I ran out of time so the decoration is a lot more simple but I think it works better as they provide a neutral backdrop for the beautiful butterflies.

You can read more about these on my blog here -

Step 1: Make the Butterflies

If you'd like to make your own butterflies then it is not too difficult, just time consuming.

Using a butterfly shape cutter cut the wings out of flower paste.

To get the shape give the wings a gentle twist away from you and place them on the corners of cut up cereal boxes to dry.

Shape the bodies out of black gumpaste and fixed on with edible glue.

I love the graduated tones my mum was able to get on these butterflies. She used an airbrush but I think you'd be able to achieve a similar effect painting wth food colours - start with a lighter base colour on the whole wing and then gradually build up with darker colours and different tones towards to edges.

Step 2: Make the Cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes (recipe from ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’)


110g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
125ml coconut milk
25g desiccated coconut

This made 6 large cupcakes and 24 mini ones.


1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (160° for fan ovens). Line your muffin trays with suitable cupcake cases.

2. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream until pale and smooth.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix well for a few minutes after each one then add the vanilla extract.

4. Sift the two flours together and measure out your coconut milk. Add a third of the flour to the cake mix and beat well. Then add a third of the coconut milk and beat well again. Repeat this until you have added all of the flour and coconut milk.

5. Fold in the desiccated coconut.

6. Spoon into the cupcake cases, filling each to about two thirds full.

7. Bake in the oven until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. This took me about 15 minutes for the mini cupcakes and 22 minutes for the large ones.

Step 3: Make the Buttercream

Italian Meringue Malibu Buttercream


200g caster sugar
75g water
80g egg white (at room temperature)
200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
25g - 50g of Malibu

I used about half of the amount this made to cover the cupcakes. You can refrigerate the remaining buttercream for one week or freeze for up to one month.


1. Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to boil without stirring. At the same time as putting this on, start to gently beat 80g of egg whites to soft peaks using a mixer.

2. When the temperature of the syrup reaches 105°C increase the speed of the mixer. Once the syrup hits 115°C remove the saucepan from the heat and pour in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites. Continue beating the meringue for 10 minutes so that it cools.

3. Once you are sure the meringue is cool start adding small lumps of the butter, mixing each bit in thoroughly until adding another piece. Once it is all added increase the speed of the mixer and mix for about half a minute until the buttercream has a smooth, light but firm consistency.

4. Add the Malibu and mix again on high for another half a minute or so.

I used about half of the amount this made to cover the cupcakes. You can refrigerate the remaining buttercream for one week or freeze for up to one month.

Step 4: Add the Decorations

Once your cupcakes have cooled completely coat them with a dome of the buttercream.

Straight after adding the buttercream coat with a heavy sprinkle of desiccated coconut and then turn the cupcake upside down to remove the excess.

Position one or two butterflies on top.

Serve and enjoy!

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